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Eat Your Feelings... Literally!

Depression is a mental health condition that causes a slew of unpleasant symptoms- sadness, irritability, loss of pleasure in activities, and fatugue, just to name a few. It's one of the most common mental health disorders, affcting roughly 7% of the population of adults in the U.S.

There are a lot of reasons that a person may become depressed, including stressful or painful life events, disappointments, and loss. And there is definitely a "chemical" component to depression- meaning, the brain chemistry- the actual neurotransmitters that carry messages between the brain and body- undergoes changes that render it less than effective at transmitting these signals. It's this chemical component that can also be impacted by the vitamins and minerals we eat, or don't eat, enough of. Read on to learn more and three vitamins/minerals that can have a big impact on your mental health!


Serotonin is an important neurotransmitter in the body with several jobs, including modulating mood, and influencing learning, memory, and happiness. It impacts other body functions as well, but for the purpose of this blog post, we'll stick with those related to mood. Anyway- a lack of serotonin negatively impacts mood and contributes to depression and anxiety symptoms. So it's important that our serotinin levels be adequate because otherwise, we're more likely to feel depressed or anxious.


Homocysteine is an amino acid that is converted into two other substances (methionine and cysteine) that out bodies need to create proteins and keep our arteries and live healthy. Too much homocysteine is not a good thing- it can impact brain functioning and lead to changes in mood and depressive symptoms.

Okay. I get it- Serotonin and Homocysteine are important. What's this got to do with what I eat?

Several vitamins and minerals impact the creation or function of serotonin and homocysteine- so when these vitamins or minerals are deficient, they can either contribute to lower serotonin levels or higher homocysteine levels- neither of which is good, and both which contribute to depressed mood and anxiety. Check out some of what research has shown:

Vitamin D

We all know that our bodies need vitamin D, and that our bodies can make vitamin D if exposed to enough direct sunlight. Decreased levels of vitamin D, however, have been associated with lower levels of serotinin and higher levels of depressed mood.